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June 5 2014 | CAMEROON

Sant'Egidio and the poor in Cameroon: a story of friendship

with the elderly, children, in prisons: signs of hope in the Africa that changes

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Young friends of the elderly, orphaned children that are not left alone, unjustly detained prisoners that find freedom: these are just some of the fruits born from the friendship between the Community of Sant'Egidio and the poor in Cameroon.

For years, Sant'Egidio has been present in Cameroon, particularly in Yaounde and Douala where in recent weeks the initiatives of solidarity with the poor have multiplied: images of a cultural change that comes from friendship and solidarity gained during many years of prayer and service to the poor.

With the elders of Djamboutou and Yaoundé
The youth of Sant'Egidio have delivered mattresses to the elders of Djambotou, a city in the north of the country, living in extremely precarious housing conditions.  Along with Alphonse, a poor old man of Yaounde that, with the help of the Community, was able to undergo an eye operation, thus regaining his sight.
With the orphans and the elderly of Douala
With the elders of New Bell, on the outskirts of Douala
With the children of the orphanage of St. Jean de Deido

The commitment to the poor has also reached Garoua in northern Cameroon near Maroua, where two months ago two Vincentian priests, Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegri and Canadian Sister Gilberte Bussier were kidnapped, released a few days ago.

On last 7 May, in the presence of the local authorities, eight people were finally freed that were still being held in prison in Garoua even though they had finished serving their original sentence for some time, because they were too poor to pay off the financial penalty coupled to that sentence. The Community of Sant'Egidio, thanks to donations and fundraising, has extinguished their "debt", and given back their freedom.

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